A new study based on data recorded from more than 100,000 young people highlights the disturbing prevalence of teenage depression, particularly among females. It has long been recognized that teenage girls are at greater risk of depression than boys, but even so, it comes as a shock to learn that more than one-third of teenage girls experience depression. Just as troubling, the research shows that the gender gap in depression opens up earlier than previously thought, from as young as 11.
Depression in girls starts from an early age
The researchers started with the assumption that a combination of biological and environmental factors in mid-adolescence were responsible for higher rates of teenage depression among girls. This assumption was confirmed to some extent since the gap between girls and boys grows over adolescence and peaks at 15. However, the study also found that girls enter adolescence significantly ‘ahead’ of boys when it comes to depression. 2% of boys aged 12 show the symptoms of clinical depression, but among girls, the figure is 5.7%
Spiraling rates of depression and anxiety among teenagers have already been widely described as a ‘mental-health crisis‘. The new study serves to further emphasize the need to give struggling young people the help they need. When depression in teenagers is not properly treated, it can have serious consequences, including failure at school, substance abuse, and even suicide.
Look for signs of teenage depression
Some of the risk factors for depression are well known, including family history, grief, and abuse. However, it is not possible to predict in advance who will develop a depressive disorder. It’s extremely important that parents, teachers, and other careers are on the lookout for signs of depression and know how to distinguish a case of the blues from a psychiatric disorder. Common signs include feeling sad or low for a fortnight or more, losing interest in fun activities, irregular sleep patterns, losing or gaining weight, and persistent feelings of hopelessness.
Remember: if in doubt, consult a professional.
If you have a daughter or son who is showing signs of being depressed, get in touch with Lake Geneva Therapy for a free consultation. We appreciate that making the decision to start therapy is not easy and our dedicated therapists go the extra mile to explain the process and make you feel comfortable. To learn more, call or fill out the contact form and click send.